View Poll Results: Should Criminal Records Not be Available to the Public?

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  • Yes, limit access to police agencies, courts, defense attorneys and proscutors

    10 47.62%
  • No, we have a right to know about a person's criminal record.

    11 52.38%
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Thread: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

  1. #11
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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChunkySalsa View Post
    If our justice system was designed to rehabilitate criminals, I'd agree to making conviction records inaccessible. Unfortunately, our criminal justice system is designed to segregate and punish convicts, which makes criminals bitter and does little to meliorate their threat to society. As a result, convicts are are more likely to commit crimes and employers should be cognizant of the risk.

    If we were going to implement a blackout like you advocate, I'd add in a stipulation that a citizen should be allowed to see what records the government has on them.
    Would you want a convicted child molester living in your neighborhood, regardless of whether or not he was "bitter?"

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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Adverse View Post
    I saw a poll which asked "Should Criminal Records Be Erased After the Sentence is Served?" I think the pollster asked the wrong question (for the right reasons though).

    The REAL question should be about public access. Thanks to data-mining companies and Background Check services, every-ones dirty laundry is open to the public. That's because we all seem to think we have a right to know everyone else's secrets, while at the same time wanting to keep our own from public view.

    At issue for me is the concern that convicted felons who cannot re-integrate into society upon release, will most certainly return to a life of crime. It may surprise most people but there are approximately 65 million adult American citizens with a criminal record. This makes them effectively un-employable because they are asked on most job applications if they have been convicted of some level of crime (misdemeanor or felony). If they say yes, they don't get the job. If they say no, a background check results in their being fired a few months after hire for "lying on their application."

    Our society works on the presumption that if a person has commited even one crime he/she is no longer to be trusted, ever! This leads to a form of social exile, forcing ex-felons to congregate and associate leading to eventual recidivism.

    Rather than erasing a record upon release, why not simply leave the record access to police agencies, prosecutors, and the courts? That's the question. Your thoughts?
    I would say it depends largely on the crime. I would support crimes being automatically expunged after X amount of time out of prison, variable by crime.

    Certain capital offenses should never be expunged, however. It needs to strike some sort of balance between reintegrating and rehabilitating criminals with their potential harm to society. Someone who is arrested for smoking dope shouldn't have a drug charge following him/her around the rest of their life. Someone is who is convicted of forcible (not statutory) rape or child molestation on the other hand, shouldn't even be seeing the light of day in the first place. But that is another matter.

  3. #13
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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by ReformCollege View Post
    Would you want a convicted child molester living in your neighborhood, regardless of whether or not he was "bitter?"
    Well I'm not a big fan of sex offender registration laws. That's because a lot of people on such registries aren't serial offenders or child molesters, just people who screwed up in some way people in that particular state considered sexually immoral enough to charge them with a crime.

    For example, only 11 states require a person to be 18 before they can consent to sex and in several of those there is no close-in-age defense. Therefore, in some of them if a person aged 18 has sex with a person aged 16, they can be charged with one or more sex offenses. Interestingly, 16 is the age of consent in 31 states and the District of Columbia, while 17 is the age of consent in the remaining 8. So you can see just crossing a state line can lead to something that is legal in one state being illegal and registerable in another. There are more examples of differing things that place a person on the sex offender list without being either a pedophile or serial rapist, but I don't need to go into those.

    My preference is to identify offenders that are a true threat and either keep them in prison, or send them to a mental facility..don't send them back out into society. But if the system releases a person back into society, I believe they deserve the presumption that they are rehabilitated and should be given the chance to re-integrate.

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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Adverse View Post
    Well I'm not a big fan of sex offender registration laws. That's because a lot of people on such registries aren't serial offenders or child molesters, just people who screwed up in some way people in that particular state considered sexually immoral enough to charge them with a crime.

    For example, only 11 states require a person to be 18 before they can consent to sex and in several of those there is no close-in-age defense. Therefore, in some of them if a person aged 18 has sex with a person aged 16, they can be charged with one or more sex offenses. Interestingly, 16 is the age of consent in 31 states and the District of Columbia, while 17 is the age of consent in the remaining 8. So you can see just crossing a state line can lead to something that is legal in one state being illegal and registerable in another. There are more examples of differing things that place a person on the sex offender list without being either a pedophile or serial rapist, but I don't need to go into those.

    My preference is to identify offenders that are a true threat and either keep them in prison, or send them to a mental facility..don't send them back out into society. But if the system releases a person back into society, I believe they deserve the presumption that they are rehabilitated and should be given the chance to re-integrate.
    This is true. I'm all for having a conversation about tightening who gets on those lists or not. But at the same time, the true sex offenders can and are a real threat to society. Why they are even back in society, is a mystery to me.

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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Adverse View Post
    Actually it is not a myth. I spent some time as an adjudicator in my state's Unemployment office. During interviews with several dozen employers regarding the firing of individuals who lied about prior convictions on their applications, I asked would they have been hired if they told the truth. In EVERY single case I was told they would not have hired the individual if he had told the truth.
    Of course in EVERY single case they said that because it would have cost them higher unemployment rates if there was no cause to fire them. That is no different than people telling the Court they regret their crime AFTER they get caught for it--all self-serving

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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Adverse View Post
    I saw a poll which asked "Should Criminal Records Be Erased After the Sentence is Served?" I think the pollster asked the wrong question (for the right reasons though).

    The REAL question should be about public access. Thanks to data-mining companies and Background Check services, every-ones dirty laundry is open to the public. That's because we all seem to think we have a right to know everyone else's secrets, while at the same time wanting to keep our own from public view.

    At issue for me is the concern that convicted felons who cannot re-integrate into society upon release, will most certainly return to a life of crime. It may surprise most people but there are approximately 65 million adult American citizens with a criminal record. This makes them effectively un-employable because they are asked on most job applications if they have been convicted of some level of crime (misdemeanor or felony). If they say yes, they don't get the job. If they say no, a background check results in their being fired a few months after hire for "lying on their application."

    Our society works on the presumption that if a person has commited even one crime he/she is no longer to be trusted, ever! This leads to a form of social exile, forcing ex-felons to congregate and associate leading to eventual recidivism.

    Rather than erasing a record upon release, why not simply leave the record access to police agencies, prosecutors, and the courts? That's the question. Your thoughts?
    I think only allowing the only judicial system access to criminal records is a fair compromise.And after awhile those records should disappear completely,because you shouldn't receive extra punishment because of something you did 10 or 15 years ago.
    "A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murder is less to fear"

    Cicero Marcus Tullius

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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    i'm fairly uncomfortable with the current state of background checks for employment. it's a serious disincentive for people to turn their lives around once released. maybe a better solution would be to have the records searchable for five years or so, and then they go private. you keep your nose clean long enough, and then you can get a good job.

  8. #18
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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by CanadaJohn View Post
    I don't know about the US, but in Canada when a criminal background check is done no conviction/sentence information related to the person is disclosed to anyone other than the person. If you try to get a job in business where the security of people or property is involved, or if you want to purchase a gun, or if you want to volunteer in an activity involving children, I believe you should be required to have a criminal background check done. Particularly, as it relates to involvement with children, the general public demands it. As long as your "rap sheet" isn't disclosed to anyone other than police or yourself, I see no problems here.
    My wife used to be contracted to Corrections. She had access to CPIC (I think that's the term) but she would have to justify any search she made through the system and her ass would have been in the wringer if she had searched any name not related to her caseload.

  9. #19
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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesrage View Post
    I think only allowing the only judicial system access to criminal records is a fair compromise.And after awhile those records should disappear completely,because you shouldn't receive extra punishment because of something you did 10 or 15 years ago.
    I don't know about in the US, but here in Canada, after a certain period of time, you can petition to have your record expunged and if you've not gotten in trouble since you were convicted your record can be wiped clean. I think that's reasonable - a person shouldn't be punished permanently for mistakes in the past unless you haven't learned from your mistakes and you keep making them.
    "Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views." William F. Buckley Jr.

  10. #20
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    Re: Should Criminal Records Not Be Available to the Public?

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Adverse View Post
    I saw a poll which asked "Should Criminal Records Be Erased After the Sentence is Served?" I think the pollster asked the wrong question (for the right reasons though).

    The REAL question should be about public access. Thanks to data-mining companies and Background Check services, every-ones dirty laundry is open to the public. That's because we all seem to think we have a right to know everyone else's secrets, while at the same time wanting to keep our own from public view.

    At issue for me is the concern that convicted felons who cannot re-integrate into society upon release, will most certainly return to a life of crime. It may surprise most people but there are approximately 65 million adult American citizens with a criminal record. This makes them effectively un-employable because they are asked on most job applications if they have been convicted of some level of crime (misdemeanor or felony). If they say yes, they don't get the job. If they say no, a background check results in their being fired a few months after hire for "lying on their application."

    Our society works on the presumption that if a person has commited even one crime he/she is no longer to be trusted, ever! This leads to a form of social exile, forcing ex-felons to congregate and associate leading to eventual recidivism.

    Rather than erasing a record upon release, why not simply leave the record access to police agencies, prosecutors, and the courts? That's the question. Your thoughts?
    that they don't get hired is a big assumption on your part, I hired a guy back in the 80's that shook his young son and killed him. He was a young father at the time of the incident and had became a positive contributor to society after his return. He made manager with our company. The public deserves access to criminal records in case people do not choose the right path when getting out. It should be just like your credit report and follow you around the rest of your life.

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